Brads Story continued (6)


Auckland Starship Hospital. 4th October 2004

Brads second major heart surgery.

Aged 12 years 7 months.

4/10/04 Woken at 5.30am for breakfast. Daylight saving had just started and we were stuffed.  Brad got back to sleep so I had some private crying time to myself.  8.30am, Brad had an ECG and Echo.  We spoke to  Kirsten Finucane (Fantastic surgeon) and David Buckley (Fantastic anaesthetist) Who advised me of the process they would take during the operation.  Chloe arrived back and Richard was getting closer...     

11.30 am Brad was given a pre med. He had been SO strong up until this point, trying to re-assure me that everything would be OK, and keeping my spirits up. Now I think the realisation of what was about to happen kicked in. At 12 he understood fear, pain, and "what if's" well.  It was a very emotional moment for the three of us, Richards plane had not got back in time, and it was horrible.  At that moment my wonderful neighbour, Anne-Marie, walked in the door and got to join us in our misery. Thank god she showed up as she managed to keep me functioning for the next couple of days and this I will forever be grateful for.     

11.45am About the same time Brad was wheeled into theatre, Richards plane landed. He had been flying for almost 24 hours and got to the hospital just an hour to late to see him.  We all went to Ronald McDonald house to settle Richard and Chloe in, I was staying in the hospital, then sat ourselves in the Ronald McDonald family room waiting for the phone call from the ward to say Brad was off the heart lung by-pass machine. This was the first big step to say things were going well.     

The operation was to include cooling Brad down to about 20 degrees. This would take about 30 minutes and slow his blood flow down. It takes about an hour to heat him up again. The surgeon hoped that she would be able to stretch and shorten his aorta but also make it wider which is what the main problem was.  The possibility of a "patch" of Bovine (cow hide) being used could also have  happened. Although this was the plan, Brad's aorta did not have enough elasticity left from the previous surgery and a new arch was made using his existing artery, cut length ways and gortex, shaped into an arch then sewed together. Thank goodness for clever surgeons.

5.30pm By this time I was getting quite worried as we had not heard that Brad was off by-pass yet. The ward had heard nothing, so we returned to the family room. Then the call came. He was off by-pass and his heart was beating on it's own.  The relief was tremendous. I cannot put into words how this call made me feel.  It was at that point that I felt Brad finally had a future and he was going to be Ok. Unbelievable relief!!!!  The ward said we could see him in an hour in intensive care. I phoned and text everyone I knew and I don't think we were the only ones with tears.     

6.30pm I.C.U. We were finally allowed in to see him.  He still felt very cold and had 9 tubes in him. They were for: A heart drain, lung drain, removal of air from the stomach, breathing tube, catheter, heart pressure wire, neck tube for drugs, wrist tube for IV, and one in the back of his hand for drawing blood. Moniters everywhere!!  But he was alive and apart from high blood pressure was doing well considering.  He was kept sedated until his BP was down a bit and on a good supply of morphine. We briefly saw the surgeon and anaesthetist who were pleased with the way it all went, so that was great to hear!!

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